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Tree Browser

With these characteristics: None

Oxydendrum arboreum

Sourwood

Ericaceae - Heath

Description

Leaves: Alternate; simple; 1-1/2" to 4" long; deciduous; elliptic; glabrous and dark green above, slightly pubescent below; finely serrate or entire margin; petiole 1/2" to 1" long; turn bright red, yellow, or purple in fall.

Twigs/buds: Twigs slender; greenish to red; smooth or slightly hairy.  No terminal bud; lateral buds small and conical to round.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers perfect; 1/4" long, white, showy, and fragrant; urn-shaped like other members of the Ericaceae family; arranged in large, drooping clusters; appear in June and July.  Fruit a small capsule that splits open into five parts; stays on into the fall; droops at first but matures upright; at first greenish-white but maturing brown.  Drooping, abundant flowers and fruit give the tree a lacy appearance.

Bark: Brownish or gray-brown; blocky on older trees; distinctive.

Wood: Little commerical value; heartwood brown to reddish-brown, sapwood paler; heavy, hard, diffuse-porous; used for tool handles, fuel, and pulp.

General: Native to the southeastern U.S. east of the Mississippi and from southern Ohio and Pennsylvania south; not Utah.  Prefers moist sites and acid soils, but I have heard it does well in moderately high pH soils (below pH 7.5) in northern Utah.  Moderately drought and salt tolerant.  Naturally grows in the forest understory, so shade tolerant; full sun also is OK.

Landscape Use: This small- to medium-sized tree (25' to 30' tall) is very attractive when in flower or fruit or for autumn color.  Not common in Utah, but I have heard of it being planted recently and doing well.  Fairly insect- and disease-free.  Avoid very tough, stressful sites.  Zones 5-9.

Cultivars: 'Albomarginatum', 'Chameleon', 'Mt. Charm'.

Characteristics

General

Family:
Ericaceae - Heath
Cultivar Availability:
Yes
Hardiness Zone:
5-9
Type:
Broadleaf
Utah Native:
No

Growth

Growth Rate:
Low
Mature Height:
Medium
Longevity:
Medium
Is Good Under Power Lines:
No
Crown Shape:
Pyramidal

Ornamental

Bark:
Yes
Fall Color:
Yes
Flowers:
Yes
Foliage:
No
Fruit:
Yes

Tolerence

Shade:
High
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
Medium
Poor Drainage:
Medium
Alkalinity:
Medium
Transplanting:
Medium